Today was the first day I thought, hell with it, I'm going across Baynes to Chatham with no regard for the turning tide. It was a gorgeous day: bright sun, strange cloud formations and shore birds everywhere. It's always a nice, varied outing in Oak bay that offers something new every time. I left just at the tide turn and would decide how to get to Chatham once I was out to Jemmy Jones.


Obviously, leaving on the beach as the current is changing means that the current is going to be tame 10 or 15 minutes later. I got to Jemmy Jones and the water was flaaaaat.. no signs of current or wind, so I crossed easily knowing that coming back in might be trickier after I doddle around Chatham taking pictures. I headed into the island's western side between Strongtide and Vantreight Island. It's funny how turned around you get going into the channel. Oak bay seems to disappear completely to strange rocks and gnarly trees. The wind has no fetch in the islands, so the water is glassy and the bottom is visible most of the time. You can detect the current direction by looking down at the eelgrass.


I headed down Discovery Island way and waved to some of the campers on the north tip of the island avoiding large jagged rocks exposed in the low tide. I circled Chathams's east side and saw two huge eagles withing about 3-5 minutes of one another. They were both harried by seagulls and crows, but seemed unwilling to move from their perch. One of the eagles had a golden color, but I couldn't tell if it was a Juvenile bald eagle or a golden eagle. I kept circling the island until I arrived at Strongtide island again. By the time I had come around the islands, Baynes had cooked up its famous standing waves and the water was looking a lot different than earlier in the morning.


Today's forecast was a pretty slow running current, maybe around 1-2 knots at the time I'd be paddling back. I've been wanting to just play in the current, and oak bay seems like such an accessible area to do so with little to no real risk in such nice conditions. I was watching the kelp beds at Strongtide island and the little bulbs were almost completely submerged on a definite flood current. I saw an eddyline fast approaching, so I nosed into it and off I went across baynes. Current is an odd animal. I found myself mostly forward paddling and bracing with no real corrections needed. Looking at the GPS, I'm surprised I crossed as fast as I did. I only got pushed a little off course. My target at all times was Jemmy Jones Island.


I think I'll try sticking my boat into some more current and get up some confidence over the subject. It's really not as bad as it looks. When I was crossing Baynes, I was scared of the noises of the streams and the standing waves, but they really aren't going to much but be a nuisance at under 2 knots. It's nice succeeding at something that seems a bit nuts from the outside. I put in a solid 13k today and really got some sun in the process.

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